SNL Viewers Club: Russell Crowe with Margo Price

episode, Russell Crowe, Margo Price, nbc, review, saturday night live, Season 41, snl, SNL Viewers Club

Chances are, you’ve seen at least one Russell Crowe movie. But how did he fare as a host of Saturday Night Live? You’ll have to read (or scroll down to the grade, I guess) to find out.

Crowe is starring in the latest Shane Black comedy The Nice Guys (which looks amazing, frankly), hence his presence this week. On the musical side is Margo Price, who I’d admittedly never heard before this episode. But hey, if you like country music, she seems to do it as well as anyone else.

Hillary Clinton Addresses Her Losing Streak Cold Open

First things first, I’m preemptively giving this the “Most Awkward Sketch Title” award. Now on to Kate McKinnon, who’s golden in basically everything she does. Her stilted Hillary movements — that wonderful physical comedy on the subway! — really make this one of SNL’s better political parodies. While the jokes aren’t always there, Kate always is.

Monologue

I appreciate several things about this. One, it’s unique to the host, and that’s how all monologues should be. Two, it embraces the fact that Crowe is a bit out of place in Studio 8H, and that’s OK. Three, it brought up his role in Les Miserables. Maybe the joke’s too obvious, but it would have been sorely missed.

Preparation H Ad

A home run as far as SNL satires go. Beck Bennett really shone here, and he made a perfect foil to Taran Killam. That “creamin’ up” line is still making me groan

Politics Nation: Voter I.D. Disaster

I’m an admitted Kenan Thompson naysayer, but his Al Sharpton is possibly his best impression — and it’s been a long time since we’ve since this recurring sketch. The constant malapropisms and Freudian slips are hilarious, and the cameo from the real reverend sealed the deal with this one. His “black approval rating” bit could have used some work, though.

Interactive Museum Exhibit

Aside from Beck and Kenan’s brief parts, this was a pretty one-note sketch — though I have to give credit for originality. Good ending too.

Match Finders

SNL is a raunchy show, but I’m honestly surprised they let this one air in the first half of the show. That said, I’m glad they did; it was hilarious. This was probably Crowe’s best performance of the night, and the lines from the supporting cast were often just as funny as his highly graphic anatomical comments. A very, very good sketch.

Weekend Update

OK… So, Colin Jost and Michael Che have definitely had better jokes in the past, but most of this week’s punch lines just felt… off. Kate McKinnon brought her Deenie character back, which was decent, though the bit of improv with that brussel sprout on the desk quickly turned awkward. Then we got another appearance from Kyle Mooney’s Bruce Chandling. His whole shtick is bad jokes, but that was unfortunately lumped into the below-average Update all around him. I’ve definitely seen better from the desk.

100 Days in the Jungle

A fantastic post-Update sketch (although it wouldn’t be too hard to do better than that particular Update). A good premise, with a great performance from Pete Davidson — and Crowe’s got much better once the duck’s vagina hit the scene.

Pogie Pepperoni’s

Much like this week’s Update, I’ve seen Bennett and Mooney do much better pre-taped material than this. I get what they were going for, but none of the jokes really landed (except maybe the confetti-head mannequins).

Shanice Goodwin

Another sketch where I know exactly what they were going for… but I don’t know if it quite hit home. The idea of Leslie Jones doing very loud, obvious ninja stuff without getting caught is funny, but maybe it simply works better on paper. Jones has definitely done better.

Oprah

Remember when writer Mike O’Brien played Jay Z? Well, here’s the sequel. The joke might not be as strong this time, but man, if I don’t love everything this guy does on camera.

Grade: B

I don’t know if you were counting, but “host” Russell Crowe was only in four sketches (plus a monologue) this episode. Maybe there’s some behind-the-scenes drama we don’t know about, but it’s a bit of a bummer. On top of that, the show definitely went a bit downhill during and after Weekend Update. There’s some great, great stuff here, but it’s pretty much all in the first half. Here’s hoping Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ episode next week is more consistent.

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